The events described in the final lyric began when King Carolus found a fittingly pathetic death on his final, senseless campaign in Norway: on the evening of 30 November 1718, he peeked over the edge of a trench and got a bullet through his head. Since Carolus was the only person who wanted to fight in Norway, his death changed the war plan, and the troops were ordered to return home. General Armfelt wished to avoid fighting the Norwegians and chose to retreat across the fells in late December 1718.
Yet the Angel of Carnage cannot permit Armfelt’s troops to return home quietly to Sweden and Finland. This Angel will not be thwarted and chooses more appropriate tools to do her bidding: retreat from the fjords and fells of the Atlantic becomes a rout when the weather itself begins to murder the fallen King’s men.
The lyricist Steven Parham describes the lyric as follows:
‘When DMB first approached me with the idea of writing the lyrics for a concept album on the Great Northern War, I happened to be caught in the midst of one of Belgrade’s infamous torrential thunderstorms. Sheltering beneath crumbling masonry in the Old Town, I watched it slash apart the River Danube before it moved on to attack the parched villages of southern Vojvodina.
Anger, frustration, release, thirst: anthropomorphisation, the imbuing of natural events with human emotions, was my initial idea for the entire album’s point of view. From the safety of Belgrade’s ancient walls, I visualised what eventually became the final chapter in the Angel’s campaign of carnage. Rather than swords becoming ploughshares and peace breaking out, her final gasp would be made audible in what has become known as the Death March of the Carolinians. From the priest’s sermon at the beginning of the first track, to the deathly shriek of the final man to die far from home, black metal to the very last note it was to be.
The album’s most complex lyric, this is my personal favourite: the sheer mayhem of voices debating murder or reasoning for survival is itself a storm of epic disaster. As in the Murktide lyric (Track #3), Black Fog deliberately avoids romantic or heroic imagery: seasons and climate are anything but comprehensible to the frail sticks of men who only wish for home. The Death March wiped out 3000 men, two thirds of them Finns, who had encountered the very edge of humans’ ability to persevere in the face of nature’s enmity. I like to imagine that our protagonist who failed to fall during the Battle of Napue and returned to Carolus’s warmongering in service of the Angel of Carnage finally found peace when he was pierced by the murderous ice that washed over his fleeing men.’
‘Love me,’ she commands. ‘Feed me,’ she demands. Truly, this Angel of Carnage can never be satisfied – and off she rides upon a most poisonous wind to unleash her appetites elsewhere. In her wake she leaves a string of frozen men, scattered like beads upon a necklace fit to adorn such a rapacious queen.